Executive Education

Are You As Skilled In business Development, Sales, And Marketing, As You May Think You Are?

I often receive questions asking about business development: What is it, how to successfully accomplish this and why do so many struggles with this?

I teach advanced business development at Georgia Christian University MBA grad level and also coach/consult/advise and do training programs and special project assignments for business organizations.

Let me share with you the insights and realities about Business Development from my 30 + years of real world business experience and advance research and education/trainings.

Definition of Successful Business Development

Having ALL of the extensive skills, knowledge, and expertise for: sales, marketing, customer service, product/services development, and other business functions.  Affectively integrating all of this into a targeted progressive effort to work together to grow sales and grow the business, and have skilled leadership that stimulate this and aggressively supports this.

The end result from such is business development and business growth in sales, profits, markets, customers, products, services, and the business internal functions.

If any skills are lacking OR if integrating all and working together is lacking OR leadership skills and support for such is lacking; business development and business growth is hindered.

Business development is similar to a cut diamond with many facets and of high value.  As you hold the finely cut diamond up to the light and carefully turn the diamond, the many facets look different with different colors & clarity.

Similar to a beautiful finely cut diamond with many facets and of very high value, the higher level of business development includes many skills:

  1. Sales/selling.
  2. Sales management.
  3. Sales & distribution channels.
  4. Account management to include ability to network to identify & build relationships to what are called, ‘gate keepers’, ‘influencers’ & ‘decision makers’, + how to personally reach them & develop relationships.
  5. Ability to uncover & discover customers’ needs that they themselves may not know about.
  6. Relationship building, internal & external,  with customers & referring networks.
  7. Up-selling /cross selling.
  8. Positioning & placement strategies.
  9. Database marketing/mining for sales & marketing.
  10. Database/knowledge management, uncovering customers’ needs & pain points to help provide solutions for.
  11. Networking within customer accounts.
  12. Networking in the target markets.
  13. Developing referral networks + developing business alliances.
  14. Digital marketing + E marketing + web content & graphics /management.
  15. Utilizing and integrating better & more graphics and video in all marketing communications/promotions/training/events/trade-shows, sales and marketing.
  16. Niche marketing + target marketing.
  17. Telemarketing/sales.
  18. Merchandising/consumer marketing.
  19. Retail POP point of purchase/POS point of sales, marketing & sales & displays & promotions.
  20. value added sales & marketing.
  21. Loyalty marketing.
  22. Market research & statistics.
  23. Competition analysis & bench marking.
  24. Marcom/marketing communications.
  25. Advertising and promotions.
  26. Researching marketing & promotions opportunities, researching market, markets & niche markets, researching competition.
  27. Product development.
  28. Project management.
  29. Time management.
  30. Branding.
  31. PR public relations + communications internally & externally, and communications strategy.
  32. Team leadership + team building.
  33. Building relationships & trust for internal & external.
  34. Conflict resolution.
  35. Multi/cross culture management for internal & external + culture differences + differences with ethics.
  36. The psychology of/in business + industrial psychology.
  37. The psychology of influencing & motivating others.
  38. Neuromarketing & how it applies to your business.
  39. Emotional intelligence.
  40. Creativity & out of the box thinking.
  41. Problem solving
  42. Setting goals/objectives and successfully achieving them with sequential steps and time lines.
  43. TQM Total Quality Management/continual seeking improvements & eliminating wastes.
  44. Fundamental cost accounting & ROI return of investment analytics, P & L profit & loss.
  45. Training/coaching/training the trainer/’adult learning’/training management would be most helpful for internal & external.
  46. Basic business law + basic employment law + basic merchandising regulations/law + basic international trade law.
  47. Change management.
  48. Visionary & being able seek out & see the future that is possible and move forward to it.
  49. And a lot more.

How Can A Business Organization/Company Improve With This, Get Higher Competence & Grow the Business More?

All of these skills are needed for different aspects of business development with the important efforts and tasks needed.  It is important to integrate all of these skills into business development efforts.

To acquire these many higher level skills does require very serious personal drive, motivation, a passion for such plus a willingness to invest considerable personal money to acquire such. In addition, continual efforts, education, seminars, trainings, readings & research, experience and a career life-time seeking such knowledge to keep leading edge of competence is needed.

Of course, being an active participant in several professional business organizations to network & gain various business knowledge is important as well.  All of this takes much effort, self-drive and Personal Money.

Few are willing to dedicate so much time, effort and invest significant personal money to gain this high level competence.  This is why high level competence in business development is difficult to have or to find individuals with such.

Many who believe that they are competent and skilled in business development often are lacking many of these skills.  For those who think they are highly competent in business development, they can review this list of skills needed to evaluate themselves.  Remember these higher level skills are obtained from a combination of experience, self-study & research, education and continual trainings.

Smart business organizations that truly want high level competence in business development may be better off seeking several professional business consultants in all areas of the many expertise of business mentioned in the above; to come in once or twice per year to review all efforts, do some training, do some research, advise with recommendations/suggestions and help lead some team efforts and projects to assure continual progress with all. 

This is more cost effective & more productive compared to relying only on your own staff that will not have the high competence level in all of these expertise that the organization may be seeking & needing.

It is very difficult to find, attract and retain the top talented individuals that have many of these expertise for business development.

Now that you have read & reviewed this short easy to understand informational article what do you think & what will you do?

  1. If you are someone who lack these numerous important skills & expertise but thought you were soooooo qualified and sooooooo good, to do business development;Now knowing you are lacking much, what will you now do?
  1. If you are one of the few who does have many of these skills and expertise but not in a good position, situation or pay level, now what will you do?
  1. If you are senior leadership and now have a new understanding to effective business development, how do you improve and proceed forward far better and what will you do?

Why Is Business Development So Challenging and Difficult?

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Michael Marshall

Michael Marshall

Atlanta, Georgia, United States
Michael Marshall has over 40 years of business experience to senior leadership levels and advisory/consulting in many markets and industries, national and global, with responsibilities in sales management, marketing, and business development along with a Ph.D. in business, MBA, and degrees in psychology and social human behavior before teaching internationally at university level (China, Korea, Vietnam, Saudi Arabia, United States) and US Embassy. He has over 58 professional business certifications to keep him highly competent. Michael continually seeks out knowledge with additional education, training, research, and experience, to keep on the leading edge of business effectiveness and business development. He has over 48 international publications on many business and business development subjects.

Michael Marshall is an opinion columnist for the CEOWORLD magazine. You can follow him on LinkedIn.